CC Is Returning

No details yet, but CC Sabathia just tweeted that he will be back as a Yankee next year. He linked to an announcement, but not surprisingly, it is overloaded right now.

More as details appear

UPDATE 7:37pm The trio of Heyman, Olney and Heyman have tweeted some details. The Yankees added a guaranteed year in 2016 for $25 million to his original deal and there is a vesting option for another $25 million in 2017 with a $5 million buyout. So, CC gets $30 million more guaranteed than under his original deal and could earn another $25 million. I have to admit, as much as I didn’t want to see the Yankees extend Sabathia further, this is a deal I can live with.


UPDATE 10:10pm
Interesting language in the CC deal.

“The option becomes guaranteed if Sabathia does not end the 2016 season on the disabled list because of a left shoulder injury, does not spend more than 45 days of 2016 on the DL with a left shoulder injury or does not make six or more relief appearances in 2016 because of shoulder issues. He retains a hotel suite on trips, a no-trade provision and the right to buy tickets.”

So, the Yankees essentially handed him a two-year extension for $50 million. Something tells me that no matter what happens to CC in the 2016, he won’t go on the DL for a shoulder injury.

A Disturbing Precedent

The NHL announced today that they have sold the naming rights to their All-Star Game. So, we will now be subjected to the “Tim Horton’s NHL All-Star Game”. I wish I was making this up.

The leagues have been maximizing revenue for years. We have that chase to thank for supposedly great innovations like “flexible scheduling” in the NFL and Sunday Night Baseball games. Great things, unless you have a ticket to a game that gets moved from 1pm to 8pm. Remember when the playoffs meant stadiums draped in bunting? Not any more, that would block the ads. All I can say is that I hope none of the other leagues follow suit on this, but you know they eventually will.

*****

On to bigger and better things. CC Sabathia has reportedly decided to opt out, but he hasn’t actually done so yet. I can only hope the Yankees remember the mistake they made last time a player opted out. Losing Sabathia would be a blow and he could even end up with Boston, but the Yankees would be foolish to go beyond the four years they have remaining on his deal. I hope they do not.

One last note, MLBTR obtained the Elias free agent rankings which determine free agent compensation. It is worth noting that Freddy Garcia qualified as a Type B free agent and the Yankees should definitely offer him arbitration. He has a low base salary anyway, so there is very little downside and the Yankees could either bring him back or get a draft pick if he leaves.

Thank You Baseball

From the amazing final night of the regular season to playoffs that gave us 38-out of a possible-41 games, this has been a great year for baseball. Congrats to the Cards, and especially to the guy who won $250,000 tonight on them.

As we head into the offseason, here are my ten wishes:

1- MLB and the players union figure out a way to avoid the missteps of the NFL and the NBA and sign a new deal before the current one expires in December. Or at least before pitchers and catchers are due to report.

2- Albert Pujols takes a page from the “Book of Jeter” and realizes that he should be a Cardinal for life.

3- MLB realizes that as great as the Cardinals victory was, deciding homefield in the World Series based on the All-Star Game winner is unfair to everyone.

4- The Yankees don’t negotiate against themselves with CC Sabathia and remember the mistake they made with A-Rod.

5- The Pirates have a great offseason that sets them up to finish well over .500 in 2012

6- I don’t read another thing about Yu Darvish being a phenom until he actually faces some major league hitting.

7- Boston ownership stops cowering behind the press and either comes out and makes their accusations directly or puts a cork in it.

8- The Yankees remember all of those young pitchers they have been developing on the farm when they plan for 2012.

9- MLB either eliminates the wild card or creates a second one in each league and a wild card round of the playoffs, best-of-3, to make winning the division important again.

10- Interleague play is scaled way back and the Astros stay where they belong- in the NL.

Thanks for your support during another season. I’ll be back later this weekend with some more about Sabathia and the opt out, which must be exercised by midnight Monday.

That Was Amazing

If you are a baseball fan and you didn’t witness Game 6 last night, you should feel shame. I have seen a lot of amazing things on the baseball diamond, but watching the Cardinals come back from two-run deficits in the 9th and 10th and then win it in the 11th has to be one of the greatest games ever.

And the amazing thing is that it looked like the game would be remembered for terrible baseball. The two teams made FIVE errors. Matt Holliday got picked off of third by Mike Napoli. (I’m still not sure how that happened.) But that was all erased by an amazing ending.

Someone once said, “The two greatest words in the English language are ‘Game Seven’,” and that’s what we have tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast in New York is for freezing temperatures and a chance of snow, but before that starts we get to enjoy one last day of summer- savor it.

End Of An Era

With Theo Epstein’s formal resignation Saturday, the Boston Red Sox say goodbye to a very successful era. Terry Francona was the start of this change and more is sure to come, but the departure of Brookline native and lifelong Red Sox fan Epstein, really puts an exclamation point on the overhaul.

Epstein should have earned himself a free beer anywhere in New England with his performance, but there are those will say, and I have to confess, I have wondered it out loud myself, why would a Red Sox fan give up his dream job? Seriously, what real baseball fan out there hasn’t wished the opportunity to be GM for a day, let alone 9 years?

Of course there are those pesky details, like 14-hour days, family life balance, stress, Boston media, players drinking during baseball games, the list goes on. It is being reported that Epstein is going to be President of the Cubs, which puts him in the Larry Lucchino role. Apparently Jed Hoyer will be GM and a bunch of former ex-Red Sox personnel will join them in Chicago. Funny, perhaps Lucchino is worried that Epstein is just years away from exclaiming, “The student has become the master.”

Good luck to Epstein and the Cubs (except when they play the Red Sox), but on to more important things like who will run this team and who will manage this team?

It seems like a done deal that Ben Cherington will be named the next GM of the Red Sox. He has been here as long as Epstein and from all accounts, is ready to take on the job. He has his hands full after the disaster that was 2011.

As for the new manager, I would expect he’ll be one who can crack that whip, but who incorporates sabremetrics (good-glavin!), and can handle the pressure cooker that is Boston. I have no clue who that person will be. I didn’t think Francona was the right pick. I thought Joe Maddon was the right call. Shows you what I know.

Once the WS is over, Boston will get to making announcements and getting to work on 2012. The Red Sox have talent and money to spend, let’s hope this overhaul yields something more than the 10-year. The Red Sox are a very fortunate organization, in that they have an A+ fan base and high revenues (courtesy of the aforementioned fan base). I sure hope ownership gets these next few weeks right.

A Bad Trend

Courtesy of Sportswatch, here are the Nielsen numbers for Game 2 of the World Series showing male viewers, broken down by age group ….12-17 (2.2), 18-24 (2.8), 25-34 (5.6), 35-49 (6.0), 50-64 (9.0), 65+ (14.3). In a separate tweet he notes that the median age of a viewer watching Game 1 was 52 while that of Game 1 of the NBA Finals was 40.

I’ve written about this issue a number of times. But as a baseball fan I can only hope that someone in the MLB offices realizes they are losing the youth of this country. Perhaps these numbers will be a wake up call.

What they mean is that 2.2% of 12-17 year-olds were watching Game 2 while 14.3% of the over-65 demographic were. The reason MLB might pay attention to these numbers is that advertisers really don’t care about anyone over the age of 49. The 18-49 demographic is what advertisers desperately want to reach and if MLB can’t deliver those viewers, advertisers won’t pay premium money for ads during the World Series. Sadly, last Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game drew 16 million viewers and a 6.0 share of the 18-49 audience. That means a regular season football game between two sub-.500 teams (at the time) had more viewers than baseball’s biggest series of the year.

Will the lack of young eyeballs force baseball to make some changes? I hope so. Earlier World Series games would be a great start. It also seems to me that baseball could easily speed up the games if they actually enforced the strike zone and starting calling pitches above the belt, but below the armpits, as strikes. There are plenty of other innovations they could try, but they need to get serious soon. A generation has already grown up without a love of baseball. MLB cannot afford to let that pattern continue.

The Wrong Thinking

Apparently, CJ Wilson is not a good signing because he is an awful postseason pitcher. His 5.32 ERA shows that he shouldn’t be trusted with a big contract. I love this line of thinking because it is just so silly. CJ Wilson’s postseason ERA is ugly, but it is only 1/2-a run higher than CC Sabathia’s and it is actually lower than Justin Verlander’s. I guess those two guys shouldn’t get a big contract either, right?

I’m not advocating the Yankees sign Wilson to a huge deal, but at the right price, I would certainly be interested. CJ Wilson at $12 million or so a year seems like a pretty solid signing to me. He may not be the best pitcher in the AL, but he is a pretty good one. And it is worth noting that he lowered his walks this past season while increasing his strikeouts. Throw in the fact that he is a lefty, and the Yankees definitely need to take a look at him, even if he gives up 14 runs in his next postseason start.

I get it, the story pool shrinks in October. There simply isn’t enough for most the writers to fill their columns. But judging a guy’s career on the basis of a handful of October starts is a bad idea.

Extension Time?

One thing that I hope the Yankees explore this offseason, is a contract extension for Robinson Cano. Cano will be 29 next season and since the Yankees have options on him for 2012 and 2013, he would be a free agent at 31.Assuming he keeps hitting, and I see no reason he won’t, he is going to ask for a massive deal when he reaches that point. How about the Yankees head him off at the pass and tear up those option year in exchange for a six-year deal now?

A six-year extension would sign him through the age of 34, probably just about the right time for the Yankees to no longer want his services. It would lock up a guy who has played 159 games or more in five-straight years and done so while playing great defense at second. It would lock up the most dangerous bat in the lineup for the remainder of the peak of his career.

Now there are risks. Obviously, it will cost a lot of money. The Yankees are going to pay Cano $14 million next season and $15 million in 2013. I would expect him to want a deal of somewhere around $20 million per year to rip up those options. Anytime you sign a long-term deal, injury is a risk, but remember that Cano has been an iron man for most of his career.

To me the huge advantage for the Yankees is that they avoid a headache in two years. Let’s say Cano puts up a 2012 and 2013 that are similar to his 2010 and 2011. How much do you think he would look for in that situation? Eight years at $20 million per would be my guess. Adding four years now, prevents you from paying him when he reaches his late 30′s. That’s a worthwhile move in my book.

Brave Sir Robin?

In light of the recent David Ortiz interview when he said “There’s too much drama. I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don’t know if I want to be part of this drama for next year.”

It reminded me of brave Sir Robin:

Ahh David, when the going gets tough, the tough…ask for a contract from the Yankees.

Hey Owners, Knock it Off

Why does it have to be this way? Why is my favorite team acting like a bunch of immature sore losers? Some of the stuff in Bob Hohler’s article had to have come from ownership.

Take a read:

Gordon Edes – ESPN Boston

Curt Schilling – ESPN Boston

Dustin Pedroia – ESPN Boston

Eric Wilbur – Boston Globe

Keith Olberman – Baseball Nerd (a Blog)

Dave Shook – SB Nation (Rob Neyer’s new home)

Nomar Garciaparra – ESPN Boston

The Nomar article is a bit lame seeing as he was a jerk at the end and no ownership spin was needed, but the rest of these articles basically stand to call out the Red Sox ownership. Why do they do this? People will not want to come here, players, coaches even fans, if they think the end of a relationship is always going to end ugly.

It’s like the Seinfeld skit where Elaine breaks up with her boyfriend only to have him call her “big head.” It’s school yard immaturity. No wonder the clubhouse was a romper room, the players were just taking ownership’s cue.